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André Gagné @profagagne
, 23 tweets, 6 min read Read on Twitter
1/ For English speakers, here are some highlights from my interview this morning on @RC_ML. What impact did evangelicals have on the American and Brazilian elections? Do they have a growing influence in Canada? I also talked about my #exvangelical life.

2/ After a brief introduction on the role of the evangelical vote in the American election, the question was asked on whether or not evangelicals also had an impact on Bolsonaro's victory? Brazil's population is 210 million people; approximately 56 million are evangelicals.
3/ 70% of evangelicals voted for Bolsonaro, whose nickname is the “messiah.” What motivated evangelicals to vote for Bolsonaro was their sense of being in a "culture war," as well as their stance on abortion and their opposition to LGBTQ rights, etc.

4/ We then moved the discussion to the impact of evangelical groups here in Canada. Between 8-10% of the Canadian population identify as evangelicals. Note that there is, however, less than 1% of evangelicals in the Province of Quebec.
5/ During the Ontario elections, Christian Right groups claimed responsibility for Doug Ford’s electoral victory. But before the elections, many evangelical groups cast their votes for Tayna Grannec Allen, their first choice in the PC leadership race.
6/ When Grannec Allen lost the race, Christian Right voters turned to Ford in hopes that he would address some of their concerns, such as the new sex-ed. course introduced by the previous government. Be on the lookout for an upcoming piece by @afebresg and I on this issues.
7/ If you recall, Tanya Grannec Allen recently proposed the Resolution R4 against the teaching of “Gender Identity Theory” in Ontario schools. I also stressed the importance of keeping an eye on the upcoming Alberta provincial election in May 2019.

8/ Let's also remind people that the Christian Right is not only comprised of evangelical groups, but also of conservative Catholics. We then turn our attention on the definition and characteristics of evangelicalism.
9/ This is a complex question, but for the sake of the interview, I keep it to the point by referring to Bebbington's quadrilateral: conversion, biblicism, crucicentrism, and activism.
10/ After explaining these points, we focused on a series of articles in @LeDevoir (In French) on evangelicalism and a particular evangelical church in Montreal. It experienced a significant growth in the past few years. @fredbyjohn was interviewed in these articles.
11/ During my interview, we hear a clip from one of the pastors of this Montreal church. His message is one of proximity; the community is exuberant and dynamic, and there's a soothing musical ambiance during the church service. It's a stark contrast to Catholic mass.
12/ Many of these new evangelical churches in Montreal are embracing the Willow Creek “seeker-sensitive” style: a church for the un-churched. These groups need to find a way to reach out to people; therefore, they try to be relevant, through contemporary music and slick messages.
13/ Their church services are built for an “emotional” experience. The meetings are crafted as performances; it's like attending a concert. The perfect atmosphere requires a curated musical hypnotic ambiance, combined w/ the charismatic intonations of the preacher's voice.
14/ People can be surprised by the fact that such churches try be modern while still adopting a very literal and moralizing interpretation of the Bible. This is a carefully curated façade, purposely crafted to attract outsiders. For insiders, things are quite different.
15/ Outsiders don’t always see the fundamentalism of some of these groups. The only way to find out is to learn to ask the right questions. When a church says that they “value the family", people need to ask what they mean by "family." Expect the answer to be the biblical model.
16/ The next questions have to do with my experience as a former evangelical pastor and #exvangelical. I was an evangelical Christian for 20 years, 10 of which I was a pastor in a couple of churches (Pentecostal and Baptist).
17/ Belonging to an evangelical church means that you are part of a social group. At the time, my entire world revolved around the church. There were times where I was at church 7 days a week. The relationships I forged were mainly with “insiders”, that is, people in my church.
18/ I had very little contact with “outsiders,” unless it was for the purpose of converting them to my brand of Christianity and bring them to church. Now, the consequence of leaving the “insider” group was ostracization and rejection.
19/ The negative impact was the loss of my social identity and network of friends. In shock, I needed to learn how to re-socialize; this took several years! At this point, my interviewer says that all this sounds like the experiences of those who left groups like the JWs.
20/ I explain that whatever religious group one belongs to, people experience the same social mechanisms. You can listen to more of my personal story in this short video 👇👇👇

21/ Near the end of the interview, I commented on the structures of these churches and some of the denominations (PAOC, Southern Baptists, etc.) to which they belong. There are, however, quite a good number of evangelical churches that are non-denominational, even in Montreal.
22/ In practice this means that there is basically almost no accountability for the pastors and leaders of these churches. They simply answer to no one; they accountable only to themselves. At this point, the interviewer admits that all of this is quite depressing and troubling.
23/ I concluded by saying that we need to be informed about the potential political impact of such groups, even in Canada. Most are unaware that Christian Right groups discreetly network w/ politicians, and their influence could profoundly affect our ways of life. End of thread.
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